Chipotle Taught Me Something

One Saturday morning, I woke up a bit later than my usual wakeup time (around 9AM) and decided to write my 1,000-words-a-day article before heading over to the gym. The gym was strangely jam-packed with people, but that didn’t stop me from switching on to turbo beast mode. As I sat on the chair, finishing up my last reps of leg curls, my stomach already started planning what I should eat for lunch.

I kind of want Chick-Fil-A’s fried chicken sandwich…nah, too fatty. Greek food perhaps? Mmm, I’ll put that on my “maybe” list. Ooooor, I could get Famous Dave’s BBQ and sink my teeth into their perfectly crunchy soft cornbread! Delious goodness…Awww damn, but nothing could be better than that cookies & cream milkshake at Chick-Fil-A… only two blocks away from here…

And this is probably why I’m still single. I would drive any guy nuts if they asked me what I want to eat.

After 20 minutes of unproductiveness, I finally decide.

Chipotle, it is.

I stop by the closest Chipotle on my way back home. As I open the door, I’m shocked to see a huge line of 30 people. I take my Iphone out and check the time. 1:45pm.

Is the normal lunchtime now past 1pm?

I wait in line, checking and responding to my work emails. My ears tune in to the conversation of two Indian guys infront of me.

“This line is taking forever! Should have gone to Ike’s Sandwiches instead for lunch.”

“Yeah, I mean look how slow they are at putting people’s burritos together.”

I take a break from my phone and glance over at the workers. There are 7 of them: 2 chefs, 3 food counter servers, 1 manager, and 1 cash register. All hands are constantly busy doing something. Like swiping the credit card, flipping the grilled chicken over, scooping salsa into the tortillas, and sliding customer’s food over to the person who bags everything. It’s like watching a 5x fast forwarding at Panda Express. I look at the workers’ faces, and I can tell they’re really trying to catch up with the lunch rush.

As the line moves steadily along, I feel the negativity from the two Indian guys as they both continue to complain about the slowness. Finally, they are in front and the first worker takes their order. The first Indian guy gets three crunchy tacos with chicken. The second one looks up at the menu choices. The worker asks, “what would you like?”

“Steak burrito with white rice, black beans and fajitas.”

The worker quickly grabs a tortilla, places it in the flat grill machine, opens it, and throws the tortilla onto the paper. He scoops all a huge ball of white rice onto the tortilla and picks five bell pepper and red onion pieces.

“That’s it? That’s not a lot you put in there. Give me more.” The worker takes a big scoop of fajitas and then a scoop of pinto beans on top.

“Did you say pinto beans?”

“NO, I said BLACK beans. Why can’t you get it right?!”

The worker starts to scoop the pinto beans from the top.

“Hey, I don’t want that anymore. Make me a new one.”

He angrily glares at the worker. I felt sorry for the poor guy as he prepared a new tortilla with his head down. I actually used to be a waitress at a Japanese BBQ restaurant, so I understand how miserable we feel when we don’t get customers’ orders right. Especially extremely PISSED customers. The Indian guy’s food gets passed along the line. My turn.

“Hello miss! I’m sorry for the long wait. What would you like?”

I get the usual: grilled chicken bowl with brown rice, fajitas, no beans, pico de gallo, corn, medium spice salsa, and shredded romaine leaves. But knowing that the guy in front of me just made his day horrible, I was afraid he would give less shit about what other customers wanted.

I warmly smile at him.

“I would like the chicken bowl with brown rice and fajitas, no beans.”

As he prepares my bowl, he takes a full spoon of chicken and dumps it into the bowl. I lean over and look at him directly in the eyes.

“Thank you. I really appreciate it!”

He pulls his head up and looks back at me. His eyes brighten up.

“No problems!”

He takes the spoon and takes another scoop of chicken into my bowl. Wow, that has never happened before. Normally, Chipotle employees don’t give you extra meat. You can ask for double the beans, double the salsa, double the cheese, double any other topping. Except meat. You would have to pay extra bucks for that. Or if you were a hot girl, I’m sure you would have gotten that easily.

I learned something from this: People tend to give more or help those who are nicer to them and who appreciate them more. Like if a CEO personally hands an employee an award for always showing up to work on time, that employee will work harder to help the company grow or to please the CEO.

This may also explain why we have the tip system for restaurants or for hair salons. If we appreciate the hard work of someone who provides us with service, whether that would be giving them $10 in tips, a gift bag of cookies, or even warmly thanking them, that’s enough to make them feel happy. And when they are happy, they will push themselves even further to pleasing others.

On the other hand, if you treat someone like shit or give them a hard time, how are they going to treat you back? Obviously not positively. Even if you’re one of those types of people who tend to get easily irritated by the smallest of problems, try not to, because that will change your attitude in a nasty way. And a bad attitude won’t get you anywhere.

I’m a big believe of karma (what goes around comes around), so if you nice and do good things for people, that favor will return to you in one form or another.

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